MARTIN GARCIA, ACCLIMATE, WINNER: “I have to give thanks to Phil for allowing me to ride and to the beautiful horse and the owners as well. It was all in the easy instruction Phil gave me. He said, ‘Just break, take the lead and don’t look back, he has natural speed and he is going to handle (the distance) no problem,’ and that’s what I did. I didn’t expect that he would go that fast. He just did it so easily, then at the three-eighths when I asked him, he just responded and they never caught me.”
FLAVIEN PRAT, OSCAR DOMINGUEZ, SECOND: “My horse ran good, but the winner never stopped.”
PHIL D’AMATO, ACCLIMATE, WINNER, RED KING, THIRD, AND YA GOTTA WANNA, FOURTH: Mentioned that the fractions were fast: “Yeah, but when this horse gets comfortable, he keeps clipping those steady fractions. Even though he was going fast, he was kind of doing it the right way. He didn’t look like he was all out.
“I knew when they were coming to him at the half-mile pole and Martin kind of turned him loose and he opened up again, we had a shot. Hat’s off to Martin. He rode a brilliant race. This is very special. Growing up, this was my favorite race. I used to find a way to get out of school, my mom would take me, and I would go sit there past the wire, so to win this is a pretty cool feeling.
“I have to give credit to the owners who let me run all three of my horses here, because it wasn’t my idea to run them . . . I always knew he wanted to go longer, but never knew he wanted to go this far. We are very fortunate to watch these beautiful animals run and enjoy themselves. We take exceptional care of our horses and it shows.
NOTES: The winning owners are The Ellwood Johnston Trust and Timmy Time Racing.